, 19, may not yet be a household name, but with a cherubic countenance that belies her old-soul demeanor, the young actress certainly does intrigue.
Birch best known as Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening's malcontented daughter in 1999's American Beauty has kept a pretty low profile, despite having worked steadily since breakfasting with "grandpa" Wilford Brimley in a late '80s Quaker Oats ad. But all that may change after moviegoers catch the teen in two very precocious leading roles this year.
In June, she headlines in Ghost World, "an offbeat comedy" co-starring Steve Buscemi, Illeana Douglas and Brad Renfro and based on Dan Clowes's artsy comic book series of the same name. "It follows the life of this young girl who doesn't really know what to do with herself after graduating high school," Birch tells TV Guide Online. "It's about all her perils and troubles and all the crazy crap she goes through."
The plain-spoken thesp also makes a villainous turn as a "not-too-nice girl" in The Hole, a teen thriller which hits Britain next month and is expected to debut Stateside later this year.
Previews Birch: "It's about four English public school students who go down to an abandoned bomb shelter for three days to have a private party. But they get stuck down there for 18 days, and only one comes out alive and that's me. The rest is a surprise."